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PUA LA’A KEA (Sacred Light of Flower) – 2021 Savant Poetry Anthology

Kaethe Kauffman has five poems included in the newly released poetry anthology Pua La’a Kea: Sacred Light of Flower, edited by Robert Uhlene Maikai, published by Savant Books and Publications. Kauffman’s poems include: The Primal Modern, Snake Lovers, Meditation, Hurtling and Dead Girls Float. On a desert hike,I discoverTwo six-foot long serpentsTogether in a dry…

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Hyperspeed Speech

Throughout my long life, I thought I’d encountered every form of negative communication possible. Growing up with two older sisters, I early learned about anger, bullying and put-downs designed to shut up their much younger sibling who eternally wanted to be included. As a teen and young woman, I dated charmers who tried to pursue…

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Pandemic States of Mind

In late spring and early summer of 2021, we felt optimism. Covid-19 was on the wane. We’d beat it. Stores reopened and people began to travel again. But when the Delta variant slammed us in the summer, we reluctantly began to wear masks and isolate more. Back to square one and back to the maelstrom…

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Mind or Breath

When I lie in bed, waiting to fall asleep, it often seems like a war breaks out between my mind and my breath. In the last moments of consciousness, my brain often races, seemingly desperate to manufacture thoughts that solve my problems. As I try to bring my attention back to each relaxing breath, I…

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Twenty Year Miracle

Nature designed humans with an inability to imagine what reality will look like after twenty-years. When I gave birth to my son, Jon, I couldn’t conceive what kind of person he would be or what he’d look like in two decades. After years spent hovering over the exuberant toddler and worrying about the rebellious teen-ager,…

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Guise/Disguise

As far as I could see, many people created an image of themselves that usually proved to be better than they actually were. They tried to live up to it, needing to convince others that their façade was the real thing.  Forty years ago, when a distant relative, Julian, had an amicable divorce, his kind…

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Walmart Women

The other day I stood in a Las Vegas Walmart Customer Service line to return the wrong size of batteries. As I waited, I overheard a remarkable conversation, one that filled me with wonder and, later, gratitude. A clerk behind the counter, a beautiful mixed race woman, declared, “My feet ache. You have no idea…

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Pandemic Adaptions

During the pandemic, I’ve noticed most people have a default response to our new dilemma. When something startles my friend, Sue, she lashes out in anger. Luckily, she’s usually mellow and is rarely caught off-guard. The late psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross taught us that people react to the prospect of death in five typical ways: denial,…

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Light and Free

As a child I felt light and free, as though weightless. I bounded and bounced wherever I wished, up trees, across streams, under water. At the time, I didn’t realize how unique and temporary this physical elation would be. Although I’ve maintained a normal weight throughout my life, I remember when, in junior high school,…

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Bodhichitta

Now in my seventies, I notice friends and family members in the same age range making far reaching decisions that may shorten their lives. When I’m flummoxed and plunged into distress by the actions of people I love, often not open to outside help, what resources can I turn to? I’m fortunate to have Buddhist…

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Red Bed

Last month, I dyed everything on my bed red. This desire came over me in a rush. All at once, I dumped bright dye in the washing machine, followed by sheets, pillowcases, a bedspread, shirts, nightgowns, pajamas and underwear. My eyes danced with the visual feast that emerged. Every night I wallowed in varieties of…

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A Good Boy

A few days ago, I squatted next to my four-year old neighbor from down the street, Toby, as he sat in his mom’s jogging stroller on the sidewalk. I asked a typical adult question, “Do you think Santa’s coming this year?” Solemn, he silently nodded. I only saw him every few months and we didn’t…

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